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Note: A huge thank you to Glamping Hub for sponsoring our stay so that we could write this post. This is an honest review of our experience glamping in the Catskills.
Is there anything as good for the soul as a weekend in the woods? If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know that escaping into the wilds is part of what keeps me sane. It doesn’t matter if it’s an afternoon hike, a week-long canoe trip, or a few days holed up in a cabin somewhere — adventuring away from home fills me up and makes me a better person.
Over the weekend we took advantage of a long-planned escape into the Catskills with Glamping with Pets. We left our too-busy teenagers behind, but we did bring our Guiding Eyes puppy, Flash, who is always up for an adventure. We also packed a bottle of wine, some bubble bath, Vermont maple syrup, and our snow boots. I had a feeling that the snow gods would smile upon us, and I was totally right!
The cabin we chose for this particular adventure is in Phoenicia, New York, an area we’ve explored a bit, but not nearly enough. When deciding on the perfect weekend retreat, I was looking for four things – a pet-friendly stay, privacy, a woodstove, and a bathtub (we don’t have one at home). This little cabin fit the bill perfectly! Here are the details of our glamping adventure in the Catskills.
Our Weekend Cabin in the Catskills
Our glamping cabin is nestled on the side of Panther Mountain in Phoenicia, overlooking a beautiful stream. We followed a steep dirt road into the mountains until we found our home away from home. Alison, who owns the property and lives next door, greeted us when we arrived on Saturday. Her dog, Harmony, came outside to give Flash his own special welcome. We explored the property first so Flash could stretch his legs a bit. He loved playing in the stream, tearing around the backyard, and playing fetch in the backyard with Harmony.
Making Ourselves at Home
Once we unpacked the car, we got busy relaxing, and let me tell you — this place is perfect for that! There two queen-sized beds, one upstairs in the loft, and one in the downstairs bedroom. There’s also a futon in the living room if you have an extra guest. The cabin is very open with windows and skylights everywhere. I know it’s glamping, but this is NOTHING like camping. There’s a full kitchen, a TV with cable, free Wi-Fi, electric heat, plus the woodstove — basically everything we needed for the coziest stay imaginable.
Linens and towels are provided, and there’s plenty of cookware and dishes in the kitchen. I’d definitely recommend bringing your spice kit to jazz up your meals, plus your own foil, zip-top bags, and saran wrap if you think you’ll need it. Cooking in the bright, open kitchen, was one of the highlights of our stay, as was my morning coffee with the best view and a jigsaw puzzle.
Exploring Phoenicia and the Catskills
We’ve explored Phoenicia, New York before, but never in the winter. Phoenicia’s big draw is tubing on the Esopus Creek, which is obviously a summer thing. Folks come from all over to rent tubes at the Town Tinker, and then spend the day floating down the river. It’s super fun, but alas, the river was icy cold on our visit, and the Town Tinker was totally abandoned. Next time.
Phoenicia is a sleepy little town, with plenty of kitsch, good hiking, and a few sweet eateries. The downtown area is teeny tiny, but there are a couple of cool shops. I recommend the Mystery Spot for vintage clothing, retro antiques, and overall weirdness, and the Nest Egg, which is a really fun old-fashioned general store. Both are located on Main Street, right downtown.
Hiking the Tanbark Trail
There’s all kinds of hiking in the Catskill Mountains, but we only had time for one good hike. We chose the Tanbark trail because you can walk there from downtown. Flash loved climbing around on the rocks, and because it was late in the day, we had the trail to ourselves.
The trailhead starts at the red bench in the park behind the post office. It’s a short (2.3 miles), but serious hike, with awesome geological features and two beautiful vistas. You can read more about the hike on Julie Journeys, and here’s a trail map if you decide to check it out for yourself.
Eating Out in Phoenicia
As I mentioned earlier, the best part about our Catskill glamping experience was being able to cook up our own grub in our own cozy kitchen, but I thought I’d share our favorite Phoenicia eateries in case you don’t like to cook as much as I do.
Breakfast – The Phoenicia Diner – This place is a local legend, and it’s ALWAYS busy. That’s because the food (and the coffee) is stellar. Located on route 28, just south of town. Try the Huevos Rancheros Skillet — it’s delectable.
Lunch – Brio’s Pizzeria and Restaurant – The aroma of mouth watering wood-fired pizza wafts through the town of Phoenicia day and night, making it nearly impossible to pass by Brio’s without stopping in for a bite. The pizza is pretty awesome, but so are the burgers, wraps, and sandwiches. Oh and the garlic fries. I already want to go back!
Dinner – The Phoenician Steakhouse – I’ll start right off by saying that I’m a vegetarian, so I really shouldn’t be reviewing a steakhouse, but this place is awesome. When we visited I had the Fusilli Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Goat Cheese. AMAZING. There’s also a myriad of high-end cocktails. The perfect end to a perfect day in the Catskills.
What We Loved About Glamping in the Catskills
- Our cabin and the property was really pet-friendly. It’s obvious that Alison loves dogs and she was very welcoming to us and to Flash. This is really important to us.
- It’s a great place to escape. We could have spent the whole weekend in our cozy cabin and been totally happy.
- The bed was so comfortable. Better than any hotel, that’s for sure. We slept in the loft, so I can’t speak for the downstairs bed.
- Cooking in the lovely kitchen. Did I already say that?
- Snow made it beyond perfect. Except that we had to leave…
What We didn’t Love
- The woodstove was HOT. I normally like it warm, but we couldn’t get the temperature right with the gigantic woodstove. We would put in a log to warm up, and then we had to open the windows because it was too hot. I think we could have figured it out if we had a few more days.
- The downstairs lighting wasn’t great. Especially for doing the 1,000-piece puzzle we had going. Of course, there’s something to be said for candles.
- The road is steep and slick after a snowstorm. We almost got stuck heading out. Would that have been a good enough excuse to spend one more day?
- Phoenicia isn’t much of a winter destination. Luckily we weren’t looking for a destination, but I think if I could choose, I would visit in the summer for more hiking opportunities, events, and of course, tubing on the Esopus.
We enjoyed every minute of our glamping adventure in the Catskills, and I’m already planning a summer visit. Want to learn more about our cozy cabin? Find the listing here and visit their Instagram account at Serene Retreat Phoenicia. Want to find your own pet-friendly glamping adventure? Visit Glamping with Pets for hundreds of properties world-wide.
Thanks again to Glamping Hub and Glamping with Pets for providing me with a media stay at Serene Retreat. I can't wait to go back!